[Each day of Holy Week, I am going to publish a communion meditation that I wrote and delivered, while serving as an Elder, over the past seven years where I worship at Northwood Christian Church, in Springfield, Oregon.]
Echoes from the Future
We all enjoy standing on the edge of a canyon or the balcony of a building and calling out loudly to make our voice echo. It’s fun to hear the sound bouncing around like we were standing in several spots at once. And we use the term echo as an analogy for remembering events that have happened in the distant past.
But when God speaks, the echoes can come from the future. Consider these words of the prophet Isaiah, written over five hundred years before the birth of Jesus: “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (53:4-6, NIV).
These words are not echoes of the past, not when Isaiah wrote them, and neither for us, for they are the present word from God to all future generations of humankind. The words tell us what happens and why it has to happen, so at that moment in time, in reality, in history that Jesus sits at the table with his disciples, a new present and a new future is opened.
We come to this communion table each week not merely to remember Jesus’ death on the cross, but to celebrate His presence with us. The bread representing his body broken for us and the juice representing his blood shed for us binds us to the past, present and future of God’s eternal love and salvation. Again to quote one of Isaiah’s echoes from the future:
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors (53:12, NIV).
And most of all, because He bore my sin.
March 7, 2004